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Premier League Young XI of the Season

Thursday 19th May 2016
The PFA team of the year only included three players that were under the age of 23, we consider what the line-up would look like if it only included young players.

Jack Butland

Stoke supporters could have been forgiven for being sceptical when the club opted against signing a replacement for Asmir Begovic and putting their faith in young Jack Butland. The former Birmingham man has proved all the doubters wrong with a fantastic season that has seen him keep ten clean sheets. Butland's season was sadly cut short by injury that has also ruled him out of any involvement with England this summer but at just 23, he is sure to compete with Joe Hart for years to come.

Highlight of the season: An incredible goalkeeping display to earn Stoke a 0-0 draw away at Newcastle, back in October.

Hector Bellerin

In a somewhat disappointing season for Arsene Wenger and Arsenal, Hector Bellerin has certainly been one of their shining stars. Eyebrows were raised when the Spaniard replaced Mathieu Debuchy last season but Bellerin has made the right back spot his own during this campaign. Not only has he proved competent defensively, he also possesses explosive pace which make him a real threat for the gunners going forward. If Bellerin continues to impress then Wenger may do well to keep hold of the 21 year old with a return to Barcelona a possibility.

Highlight of the season: A key performance in the 3-0 demolition of Manchester United.

John Stones

The season started with transfer turmoil for John Stones as he was constantly linked with a move away before big money bids from defending champions Chelsea were rejected. Not only is the 21 year old excellent defensively, he is also comfortable on the ball which seems to be rare for so many English centre-backs. Stones has received criticism from pundits and supporter during the campaign for a reluctance to clear the ball when necessary and sometimes playing into trouble. However, when a young defender is so confident playing out from the back, he is bound to make mistakes and is arguably just playing the way was coached by the now departed Roberto Martinez. Everton will do well to refuse interest again this summer.

Highlight of the season: A mature reaction to transfer rumours with a strong display at White Hart Lane while Everton supporter sang the brilliant 'Money can't buy you Stones'.

Eric Dier

Harry Kane and Deli Alli have stolen the headlines in what has been a fantastic season for Tottenham but Eric Dier is one of the unsung heroes in a promising spurs side. Dier was always going to struggle to hold down a place at centre-back with Toby Alderweireld coming into the club but a move to defensive midfield has proved a stroke of genius from Mauricio Pochettino. Dier's protection of the back four has been vital in earning 13 clean sheets for the title challengers while the former Lisbon man has also helped out with three goals.

Highlight of the season- Scoring from 25 yards to put spurs on their way to a 4-1 win over Manchester City in an early season encounter at White Hart Lane.

Nathan Ake

After little first team action with Chelsea, this season brought an opportunity for Nathan Ake to prove his worth in the Premier League with a loan to newly promoted Watford. While he has not featured in every game, Ake has played his part in an impressive first season back in the top-flight for the Hornets. While the youngster has mainly played at left back, he is equally confident at centre-back or in holding midfield. It will certainly be interesting to see if incoming manager Antonio Conte gives Ake a chance in the first team.

Highlight of the season: Opening the scoring in a 3-0 win for Watford over Liverpool, back in December.

Ross Barkley

Despite a barren spell that sees Ross Barkley without a goal in eleven games, the 22-year-old has still been one of the best young players in the Premier League this season and was even nominated for the PFA young player of the year award. Barkley has scored eight goals this season and claimed the same amount of assists, making him one of the most influential youngsters in the league. Barkley has struck up quite a partnership with striker Romelu Lukaku and it is vital that Everton hold on to both this summer.

Highlight of the season: Scoring a brace in Everton's comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle in February.

Deli Alli

No one would have expected Deli Alli to have such an impact following his arrival at Tottenham from MK Dons but thanks to Pochettino's belief in young talent, the 20-year-old has made the step up from league one in quite some style. Alli has scored ten goals, created nine and earned not only an England call up but now an almost certain place in Roy Hodgson's starting eleven at the Euros this summer. Alli fully deserved to win the PFA young player of the year award and could well see bigger prizes come his way in what is certainly a bright future.

Highlight of the season: A wonderful piece of intuitive skill culminating in a well-struck volley to help spurs to a win 3-1 win away at Crystal Palace.


The little Brazilian is a player that often blows hot and cold but has the ability to produce a goal out of nothing when his side need it. Coutinho possesses pace in abundance, excellent dribbling skills and a rifle of a long shot which has seen the number ten fire in eight premier league goals over the course of the season. Barcelona have previously  been linked with the 23-year-old but Coutinho has a real opportunity to be Liverpool's main man in Jurgen Klopp's resurgence of the club.

Highlight of the season: Scoring a brace at Stamford Bridge to pile the pressure on Jose Mourinho.

Anthony Martial

'What a waste of money' were the cries when Manchester United splashed out on a then teenage striker from Monaco but Anthony Martial has proved most of the critics wrong during his debut season at Old Trafford. Often pushed out wide to accommodate Wayne Rooney or Marcus Rashford, Martial has shown his versatility and ability to create chances for himself and others. The Frenchman is arguably United's best striker and should be played up front more often in the future in order to see just how good he can be.

Highlight of the season: A special individually crafted goal to seal a 3-1 win over rivals Liverpool.

Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku has received criticism for a quiet end to the season and for reportedly seeking a move away from Goodison Park but it can be argued that his record this season deserves more than a mid table finish. The young Belgian has bagged 18 league goals this season, managing a goal every other game. If you could custom build your ideal striker he would probably look something like Romelu Lukaku. He's fast, he's strong, he's good in the air and he can score from a range of positions. The 23-year-old is still a bit of a raw talent and is perhaps a first touch away from greatness but we could see him reach the top sooner rather than later.

Highlight of the season: A double away to Southampton early on in the season, on a day where Lukaku ran the saints defence ragged.

Harry Kane

Many football fans were expecting Harry Kane to be a one season wonder after his unexpectedly brilliant campaign last time around. Kane proved all those supporters wrong and in quite some style: 25 league goals, a golden boot and surely a place in Roy Hodgson's starting eleven this summer. With no real reliance on pace and a great reading of the game, Harry Kane is all set to be a Premier League menace for years to come. If there is one player out there that could actually beat Alan Shearer's goal tally, it's this guy.

Highlight of the season: An exquisite finish from an impossible angle in the North London derby against rivals Arsenal.
Dane Emery
Loyal Southampton fan with a passion for the game at all levels. Previously featured in the Daily Mail and the Independent.

Total articles: 5

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